Customer Stories:

Hope College’s anniversary mailing achieved a 100:1 return on investment


Hope College, located in Holland, Michigan, is a prestigious liberal arts institution known for its strong academic programs and Christian heritage. Founded in 1866, the college provides a supportive and vibrant learning environment, and has over 35,000 alumni in every state and 80 countries

The Challenge:

Hope College aimed to retain and upgrade gifts from their loyal donors (LYBUNT) and reactivate one-year lapsed donors (SYBUNT). They sought to create a donor-centric appeal to renew gifts and needed a streamlined process for doing so.

Why evertrue:

Hope College used Pledgemine by EverTrue to execute their direct mail campaign due to Pledgemine’s ability to simplify the process, the fulfillment solutions that enable ideal timing for mailings, and the capacity to turn the A2 format into a successful appeal.

The results:

The gift anniversary card campaign achieved its objectives, with a low cost per dollar raised, typically between 1 and 2 cents. The return on investment exceeded 100:1, and the project consistently performed well over the three years since its inception. They plan to continue using this design or similar approaches in the future due to the strong returns it generates.

In addition, the success of this project has motivated the team to explore more timely appeal efforts for different donor segments, underscoring the opportunities and creative challenges that come with working in Annual Giving at Hope College.

More behind the story

At Hope College, direct mail has become a fundraising powerhouse. The “Gift Anniversary Card” campaign, led by Amy Borgman, Director of Annual Giving and Operations, has consistently delivered impressive results.

The primary goal of the Gift Anniversary Card campaign was twofold: to retain and upgrade gifts from loyal donors (LYBUNTS) and to reactivate one-year lapsed donors (SYBUNTS). This required a donor-centric approach that could resonate with their supporters and encourage renewed giving.

Amy and her team needed a partner who could simplify the process and make it easy to upload data and send out cards promptly, and Pledgemine by EverTrue fit the bill. Hope College partnered with Pledgemine recognizing it was a fulfillment solution that allowed Hope College to choose the perfect timing for their mailings. But the key was turning the A2 format into an effective appeal, and our team worked closely with Amy to make it happen.

The Gift Anniversary Card campaign primarily targeted LYBUNTS (Alumni, Parents, and Friends who had given in the previous year) and one-year lapsed SYBUNTS. Segmenting their audience helped tailor their message and approach.

So, did they achieve their objectives with this mailing? Absolutely! The Gift Anniversary Card campaign has become one of Hope College’s top-performing direct mail efforts. Their cost per dollar raised is incredibly low, typically falling between 1 and 2 cents.

The return on investment? It’s off the charts, exceeding 100:1. This project has been consistently successful over the years, and they plan to continue using this approach for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, this success has inspired Amy to explore timely appeal efforts for different donor segments, highlighting the ever-evolving challenges and creative opportunities in the world of Annual Giving at Hope College.

That’s a true direct mail success story, if you ask us!